Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Family Experience Living-in-community

Published in Juno Magazine recently Dorota Owen a long term leader of Kalikalos Family weeks talks about  holistic holidays and living in community with a family.  

I first heard the term “Holistic Holiday”, from a former Findhorn community member who, in 2008, invited me to join the staff of a Findhorn-inspired summer community project in Greece. Called “Kalikalos”, this community project is based in an old hotel in the picturesque mountain village of Kissos in the Pelion peninsula. 

The cobbled streets and stone houses are home to a population whose ancestors have enjoyed the tranquil  forests for centuries,  living on abundant harvests and the clear, clean water that bursts from the mountainside springs.  In winter time, the snow attracts skiers: in summer time  the many tavernas are a magnet for hikers and visiting Athenians, many of whom have family holiday homes here.

Swimming in a perfect sea, I wondered how it would be to bring my three children, then aged 15, 13 and 7—would they get bored ? Should we invite their friends? In the end, the Kalikalos director suggested that I run the first of our family experience weeks (which are patterned after the Findhorn Foundation family experience weeks) and the children helped. Since then, this week has grown into two and our numbers have doubled year after year.

Now there are two venues and a waiting list!

Why are these family weeks so popular? Obviously the location, warm sunshine and sea are a big draw for British visitors in particular. Living in community is also a factor, as deep friendships are formed in the context of community life which simply would never happen on a package holiday in an anonymous hotel.  Community can be intense sometimes, and over the years, communication processes like Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication, sociocracy and council circles have been adopted to facilitate conflict and reach harmonious win-win resolutions.

There is some special magic about a community-based holistic holiday which has emerged over the years, an alchemy of healthy, fresh local food, gentle work rhythms and  a profound connection with nature as we eat under the stars and  walk in the shady forests.

This, to me, is truly the meaning of a holistic holiday. I learn about human nature and how to get along with people, as do my children, and I think this has been key to our evolution as a very happy family unit. I eat healthily, swim daily, walk through nature. We always  return to our home town glowing, tanned, fit. Finally, I feel nourished by the good company of friends, supported in the larger world by the knowledge there is a tribe that I am part of, a family of cultural creatives who share my values around planetary sustainability and good living.
For more detail about the Family weeks and our work shop programme visit.

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